Monday, July 27, 2009

For the Record

Okay, just to be sure that you don't think my family is from Kentucky or anything: it is all perfectly legal for my dad's brother to be married to my mom's sister. So, for the record, the blond on the far right in the top picture is my Aunt Barbara. The freckled boy in the center of the bottom picture is my Uncle John--they are married now. See? No problem. Just to clarify that there is nothing funny going on in my family tree. Okay, there is SOME funny stuff going on, but you know what I mean! My last blog may have left some uncertainties. Now you know.
Parker Family (pre-twins, Aunt Kathy and Uncle Keith weren't born yet)
From the left: Bryan's mom: Victoria, Aunt Peggy, Aunt Emmy, Aunt Shirley, Aunt Barbara, Uncle Larry, Grandma Florence. Circa: 1950's

Klungreseter Family (pre-Uncle Karl and Aunt Ingrid)
From left: Grandma Birthday, Uncle Eric, Uncle John , Grandpa, and Bryan's Dad: David
Circa 1953?
I need some more pictures of these two families. Any relations out there with some good ones? I will pay handsomely for your contributions :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

With Hope

There is joy. Lots of it. I just needed to pay attention. To the little things. My youngest son's irresistible dimples. My oldest daughter's quiet and graceful blossoming. My middle girl's tender motherly care for her brother. The quick gleam of curiosity and mischief in one son's eyes. The determined focus of one boy--his stick-to-it-tiveness brings joy to my heart. A molten sunset on the horizon. The sound of waves crashing on the beach outside my tent, lulling me to sleep. My husband catching his first wave--three whole seconds of surfing. S'mores over a campfire. Reading a good book with no interruptions. Grieving with Hope. Not like the world mourns, but with eager expectation. Joy. In the morning. Thank you for answered prayers, Lord.

This week my heart welled up with joy each time I caught myself thinking of my brother. I was one blessed sister. It may be true that I think about Bryan more each day since he died than I ever did when he was an accessible, active, present fixture in my life. His face, his huge grin and long-lashed brown eyes, flashed before my mind so many times this week.

We vacationed right on the Pacific Ocean this week. Out-grown tent, over-used airmattresses, forgotten flashlights, icky-yucky gross bathrooms, expensive showers--the whole bit. I confess that Bryan and the beach really shouldn't go in the same sentence. He hated the sand. I have no memories, NONE, of us ever playing in the waves together or building sandcastles or burying each other in the sand. Last year Reilly had a beach birthday party and Bryan even conveniently got out of attending. Once he came after we had spent the day in the sun and surf but only because I bribed him with a campfire hotdog and s'mores. The man could not turn down hot dogs blackened on a coat hanger. With mustard.

But seeing Aidan race to the toilet barely making it reminded me of my brother's ability to time his dash to the bathroom just in the nick of time. He never wanted to interrupt his fun even when nature called. And seeing our cousin John come up from the shore made me take a deep breath and glance away. John and Bryan look so alike. Of course. His mom is my mom's sister and his dad is my dad's oldest brother. Even John's long toes in flip flops made me think of Bryan. And that tattoo--each member of John Jr's family memorialized Bryan forever with a tattoo. Listening to the Eagles with Bryan's Uncle Keith and his "nephews", Justin, Mark and Wyatt. Eating boxes mac n' cheese. Driving past D Street in Encinitas. A dozen different times a day I think of my brother. And I smile. He was such a great guy. I was so lucky to share my life with him. He brought me joy. And his memory still does. I can't wait to see him again.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Joy Comes in the Morning

Yesterday I finished another book on my summer reading list: Betty Smith's Joy in the Morning. I liked it. It felt reminiscent of many of my early married days (oh the angst and insecurity!) and my first pregnancy (oh the angst and insecurity!). Then in my quiet time I read Psalm 30:5 which reminds me: "Weeping my endure for a night (or 216 nights) but joy comes in the morning." This morning, coincidentally (or NOT!), I was reading the confessions of my favorite blogger and her post was entitled: Joy Comes in the Morning

Well, I may be a bit slow to the draw but three times a charm, or whatever that pithy saying is. I hear you God. I am waiting for the joy. I am expectant. I am anticipating the pleasure of it. I am waiting for your joy which is my strength.
The Pioneer Woman ended her blog with this line:
"Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."
I agree with her (she stole the line from a movie, can you name it? no fair looking at her blog first!). But I haven't been laughing this week. This morning I prayed and asked God to give me more happy, smiling, belly-busting joy-filled stories about Bryan. I can't remember any now. But stay tuned! I have a feeling the best are yet to come.

WARNING! Tissues Required-Video Slideshow of Bryan's Life-Sorry the music was muted!